Uttarakhand is a state in Northern India, formerly known as Uttaranchal. It is surrounded by the mighty Himalayas in the north, with as many as sixteen swift-flowing rivers (Ganga and Yamuna with their tributaries form the major part of these rivers). Uttarakhand is often called “Devabhumi,” as it has some of the famous religious sites of the whole of India. The state was carved out of Uttar Pradesh in 2000, and it received a new name in 2007. It is also the land of gorgeous scenery and mind-blowing landscapes.
The state has a whooping majority of forests and mountainous regions, which make it a famous tourist attraction. The place receives two kinds of tourists round the year – the tourists aiming to visit various religious shrines, and the other half visiting to witness the mesmerizing views and take part in adventure sports. The locals are always welcoming towards all kinds of tourists, and the whole state has a vibe of festivals and celebrations going on full-fledged throughout the year. There are various beautiful places to visit in Uttarakhand. Some of the major tourist attractions here include the following:
This is mainly a religious destination that has some of the amazing facts related to it. For instance, River Ganga has its origin in Gangotri glacier; it enters India first at Rishikesh, in Uttarakhand, and is natively called the Alakananda River. Rishikesh also has popular natural landscapes and yoga centers, which make it a hotspot for tourist attraction. Major places to visit in rishikesh may include:
- Lakshman Jhula – It is an iron suspension bridge over the river Ganga, and it connects Pauri and Tehri districts. According to popular mythology, Lord Rama’s younger brother Lakshman crossed the river Ganga here with a jute rope. The bridge is newly renovated, with 450 feet in length, and falls on the way to Trimbakeshwar temple. The place has free entry, and you can enjoy beautiful scenes and click pictures standing on the bridge.
- Neelkanth Mahadev Temple – This temple is situated on a hilltop located 32 km away from Rishikesh. It is a popular shrine of Lord Shiva, frequently visited by many tourists. It lies beside Nar Narayan mountain range above Swargashram. You can get amazing views of some of the best sightseeing in Uttarakhand from here.
- Jumpin Heights – Located at Mohan Chatti, this place provides bungee jumping adventure sport. You will have to jump 83 meters above the river surface of Ganga. It is one of the best places for adventure lovers and is open for all from 9.30 AM to 3.30 PM. Paid entry is available with INR 100 for each.
- Triveni Ghat and Parmarth Niketan – Ganga aarti is a must-watch at both these locations. It is done by Vedic priests who are accompanied by their pupils in the evening. It is an hour-long event which starts at 6 PM. The place is lit by large aarti lightings, and diyas are floated on the Ganga river. It is a mesmerizing view to watch, which occurs daily.
Other popular places in Rishikesh include Ram Jhula, Geeta Bhavan, Kaudiyala, Rishikund, Bharat Mandir, Vashistha Cave, and many other famous ashrams.
It is one of the holiest cities in whole India. With popular temples, sacred river Ganga, and daily aarti practices, this place is flooded by tourists every year, especially whenever Kumbh mela is organized here. Some of the famous places to visit in Haridwar include:
- Har Ki Pauri – The name of this place simply means the divine footsteps of the almighty. Here, river Ganga first touches the Indian plain, and tourists flock here every day to receive divine blessings. It is located near Krishna Dham at Kharkhari. It is open for all visitors throughout the day, but crowds emerge here when the auspicious Ganga aarti starts. It is a delight to watch lights flickering all around and lighted diyas floating on the river.
- Mansa Devi Temple – It is one of the Panch Tirth in India, also called Bilwa Tirth. Mansa Devi, the Hindu goddess of snakes, is worshipped here, and it remains open from 7 AM to 7 PM (with a 12 PM to 2 PM lunch break). The specialty here is the ropeway ride which costs INR 100 per person. You can also climb the steep mountain to reach there.
- Shanti Kunj – This is one of the most important tourism spots in Uttarakhand. World Gayatri power has its source and headquarters in Shanti Kunj, with ancient traditions and spiritual cultures kept intact within the premises. Attractions here include Gayatri Mata temple, Yagya Shala, Akhanda deep, and various others. It is located at Motichur in Haridwar and is free for all, with its gates open all day for tourists and locals.
- Fun Valley Water Park – This famous amusement park is located at the conjunction of Haridwar, Dehradun, and Rishikesh. The various adventure rides, especially made with water equipment, are a must-try with a huge adrenaline rush all the time. It is a perfect place to enjoy with family, have a little picnic, and enjoy the lush greenery all around. The park is open to all from 9 AM to 7 PM, and the entry fee varies from INR 600-800 for children and adults.
- Daksheswara Mahadev Temple – Located in Kankhal, this temple is famous for mythological reasons. It is regarded to be the place where Goddess Sati entered into the fire and was burnt to ashes in front of her father, Daksha Muni. Goddess Shiva later carried her body throughout Indian regions where famous Sati Piths were created. The temple has a yagna kund (where the incident had occurred), with Daksha ghat at the very end. It is open from 4 AM to 7 PM daily and can be visited during Sawan and Maha Shivratri when the temple is beautifully decorated.
Other places of tourist attractions in Haridwar include Bharat Mata Mandir, Patanjali Yogpeeth, Vaishno Devi Temple, Neel Dhara Pakshi Vihar, Crystal World, and a host of other temples and ashrams.
It is the capital city of Uttarakhand and acts as a gateway to surrounding major hill stations like Nainital and Mussoorie. You can opt for car rentals in Uttarakhand to visit Dehradun from nearby stations. Some of the major tourist attractions in dehradun include:
- Sahastradhara – It is also commonly called ‘Thousand Fold Spring’ and has numerous sulfur water springs that have many medicinal properties. The place is also famous for its physical landscapes and natural beauty. You can enjoy a ropeway ride here and witness outstanding views around the mountainous region. It is just 24kms away from Dehradun, and you can reach there by using local taxi services in Uttarakhand.
- Robbers Cave – Also called Guchhu Pani, it is a nice natural spot for picnics and hangouts. Located in Anarwala village, this place has cold streams of water gushing through the beautifully carved deep caves and caverns. It has free entry throughout the day.
- Buddha Temple – It is located at Clement town and consists of exquisite Buddhist shrines and also a holy school of Tibetian religion. You can easily reach here by road, and it is located around 5kms away from Dehradun railway station.
- Malsi Deer Park – Commonly called the Dehradun Zoo, this place is located 10kms away from the Dehradun-Mussoorie road. It has an amazing range of wild animals like leopards, nilgai, ostrich, crocodiles, lions, and turtles, with special reference to the horned-deer park.
Other places which are a must-watch in Dehradun include Lachhiwala, Tapkeshwar Temple, Forest Research Institute, Asan Barrage, Fun Valley, Jagatram, and Clock Tower.
Also called the ‘Queen of the Hills, Mussoorie is the most beautiful place to visit in Uttarakhand. The amazing views of mountain ranges and the Doon Valley mesmerize the tourists here. You can reach this hill station by a spiral road from Dehradun that continues along with the steep mountain range. Major places to visit in Mussoorie are:
- Kempty Falls – This place offers some of the best scenic beauties in the whole area. It was developed by the British long ago, and it bears significance with its gigantic structure and amazing landscape. The place has free entry with safety stands in front, where you can click beautiful pictures with the falls behind you.
- Gun Hill – It is the second-highest peak in Mussoorie, significant historically as well as geographically. You can opt for a cable car ride here and view the vast Shivalik ranges and swift-flowing rivers from the top. It is located 400 ft above the land surface and provides some amazing views in every way.
- The Mall – Located at a height of about 2000 meters, this place is a major tourist spot in Mussoorie. You will get to see benches and lamp posts at every juncture of the road, and the place is beautifully decorated with natural landscapes all around. It is great for shopping with branded stores present at every corner. You can easily reach it here as it is at the center of the hill station, with the Dehradun railway station at walking distance.
- Lal Tibba – This is the most famous point in Mussoorie, with the topmost point of the highest peak here. Located at Depot Hill, this place offers some of the best sunrise and sunset views throughout the year. You can also get to witness snowfall if you go there in winters or early summers. It is about 5kms away from Mall road, and you can easily reach it by bus or car.
Some of the other famous tourist spots in Mussoorie include Bhatta Falls, Jwala Devi Temple, Mussoorie Lake, George Everest House, Camel Back Road, and Soham Heritage Art Centre, so visit Mussoorie soon.
Popularly known as the ‘Lake District,’ Nainital offers a list of tourism spots in Uttarakhand which are unique in their own ways. The hidden gems in Nainital include the following:
- Naini Lake – It is one of the most visited places in India, with seven prominent hills surrounding the whole area of it. The official name of this lake is Nainital Lake. You can participate in various adventure sports here like boating, yachting, kayaking, and a host of other amazing festivities. The place offers solace and a calming effect for your soul and enables you to have a superb vacation here. The lake is open from 6 AM to 6 PM, and the various adventure rides require particular fees if you want to opt for them.
- Nainital Zoo – This is a great tourist spot, especially if you have children with you on your tour. Its official name is Bharat Ratna Pt. Govind Ballabh Pant High Altitude Zoo. The place occupies a huge area, with a host of endangered species in it like Tibetian Wolf, Silver Pheasant, Barking Deer, Sambar, and Japanese Macaque. It is located above 2100 meters above sea level, which makes it a favorable spot for many wild animals. The entry fee varies from INR 50 to 150 according to the age limits.
- Naina Devi Temple – Popular among Hindu disciples, this temple has Goddess Naina Devi as the deity featuring two eyes only. People from all over the world visit the temple on a regular basis to pay their homage to the goddess of Shakti. The Naina Devi Temple is open from 6 AM to 10 PM, and you can buy puja items and prasad from nearby shops at affordable rates.
- Eco Cave Gardens – This is again a great place for children as well as adults. It is a newly discovered tourist spot, which has various interconnected caves for animals. You can also visit the hanging gardens here to have a look at seasonal flora in all essence. It is located 3.7kms away from Tallital, close proximity that you can reach by bus or car. The place is open from 9.30 AM to 5.30 PM, and the entry fee is INR 10 for children and INR 20 for adults.
Other popular tourist spots in Nainital include Tiffin Top, Raj Bhavan, Snow View Point, Kilbury, Gurney House, The Flatts, Aries, and Naina Peak.
Located in the Garhwal ranges of the Himalayas, Kedarnath is a popular place for tourism in Uttarakhand. It is the shrine of Lord Shiva, which makes the whole area popular. Kedarnath forms a part of Rudraprayag district, and some of the popular tourist attractions in Kedarnath include:
- Kedarnath Temple – Located at an altitude of 3553 meters, this temple forms a part of the Chota char Dham pilgrimage. It is the most famous among twelve jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva, the ultimate destroyer of evil. The temple is believed to have been covered by snow for almost 400 years before it was recovered. The temple is open for the general public from 6 AM to 7 PM, with a break from3-5PM. It also remains closed permanently for six months during the winter season due to heavy snowfall.
- Rudra Cave – Popularly known as Dhyan Gufa, this is a meditation cave in the underground, located about 1.5 km away from the Kedarnath Temple. It is constructed by the Nehru Mountaineering Institute and stands beside the Mandakini river. It is a great place for meditation and spiritual awakening of the soul. The cave has paid entry with INR 990 per person.
- Shankaracharya Samadhi – This place contains the mortal remains of the famous Hindu Guru Adi Shankaracharya. It is located just behind the Kedarnath Temple and is located 16kms away from Gaurikund.
- Gaurikund and Gaurikund Temple – Goddess Parvati, commonly known as Gauri Devi, is said to have punished herself in this place for winning over Lord Shiva’s heart. The place is well connected to Rishikesh and Dehradun, with Rishikesh railway station in close proximity. Gaurikund is also famous for natural hot water springs.
Other important tourist spots in Kedarnath include Gandhi Sarovar, Phata, Sonprayag, Vasuki Tal Lake, and other popular temples.
This is mainly a religious place, with mythical references to many epics, especially the Mahabharata. Located in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, Badrinath has a host of tourist places like:
- Badrinarayan Temple – It forms one of the ‘Char Dhams’ and contains a shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the creator of the world. The nearest railway station is Rishikesh, and it is well connected with a good road network. Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath together form the char Dham, and pilgrims visit this place throughout the year, seeking blessings from the almighty and spending time in meditation here. This place remains closed for six months in winter and is open for all from 6 AM to 8 PM on other days.
- Charan Paduka – This is a popular place for Hindu pilgrims, as it contains a rock that has Lord Vishnu’s footprints. People from all over the world visit here to seek the blessings of Lord Vishnu, and they also make promises to the holy almighty to come back and worship if their desires get fulfilled. It is located 3kms away from Badrinath temple and can be visited any time during the day for free.
- Nilkantha Peak – This peak has an altitude of 6596 meters and is snow-covered for almost the whole year. It is right above the Alakananda valley in Badrinath. It has the Satopanth glacier in the north-western region. If you love to witness sunrise and sunset amidst snow-clad peaks of the Himalayan ranges, then you will love this place. Look out for the correct timings to see these views daily.
- Tapta Kund – This is a hot water spring that is situated between the Badrinath temple and the Alaknanda river. The temperature of the water here rises to 45 degrees, and you can see bowls and clothes filled with rice floating on the water, as it gets boiled easily in the high temperature.
Other important tourist attractions include Surya Kund, Alkapuri glacier, Vasudhara Falls, Vyas cave, Brahma Kapal, Bheem Pul, and a host of famous temples, ashrams, and places of interest. You can opt for local taxi cab services in Uttarakhand to visit these places.
8. Jim Corbett National Park
Widely known for its Royal Bengal Tigers, this park has a rich variety of plants and beasts that is sure to mesmerize you, especially if you love biodiversity and photography. Located in Ramnagar, Uttarakhand, this place is a densely forested wildlife sanctuary consisting of a variety of wild animals like Bengal tigers, leopards, wild elephants, a variety of birds, and other beasts.
It was previously called Hailey National Park, and later it was named after the famous hunter and naturalist Jim Corbett. It is open for all from 8 AM to 6 PM (5 PM in winters), and the entry fee is INR 200 for Indians and INR 1000 for foreigners.
You can opt for various adventures in Jim Corbett National Park. These may include jeep safari, elephant safari, camping, bird watching, trekking, fishing, mountain biking, and river rafting. Places you can visit here include Garjia temple, Corbett waterfall, Kosi river, and Corbett Museum. You are surely going to have a gala time here, and don’t forget to click amazing pictures while you travel.
There are a host of other places to visit in the vast state of Uttarakhand like Ranikhet, Munsiyari, Binsar, Lansdowne, Almora, Auli, Rajaji National Park, Sattal, Chandrashila, and so much more. Tourism attractions in Uttarakhand have innumerable mysteries hidden in every nook and corner, with spiritual secrets mainly dominating the region.
You may have to opt for a tour guide at some places in order to know the details and history related to that place. Uttarakhand mainly thrives in religious and spiritual spots, but you can easily find adventurous things to do here as well. The vast landscape offers some promising views of natural beauty that will get etched in your memory forever.
Most of the places can be visited in one go, and you just need ample time to have a great tour. If you want to contribute to religious actions and want to offer puja or worships at various temples, you need to be careful. You can Hire a pandit or religious preacher who will guide you throughout the temple tour. Make sure you select one of the local pandits for this purpose. Overall, make your trip worthwhile by making prior arrangements.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: How can I plan a short trip to Uttarakhand?
A: Uttarakhand has a host of admirable places to visit, and if you have limited time, you need to visit the prominent ones for now. Also, you can plan your tour that covers most places which are nearby, like Haridwar, Rishikesh, Mussoorie, and Dehradun.
Q: Is Uttarakhand an adventurous place to visit?
A: Uttarakhand has unique places which can enchant you in every way. Adventures here may include trekking through the Himalayan ranges, engaging in water rides, skiing and paragliding.
Q: What is the native language of the locals in Uttarakhand?
A: The Devbhoomi of India has as many as six different languages spoken by the natives. The most important among them is Hindi, Kumaoni, and Garhwali. The whole area is a tourist place, so you can effectively converse with the locals in English as well.
Q: Which is the best time to visit Uttarakhand?
A: Uttarakhand does not have extremes of temperature except the winters. So, March to April and September to November may be considered the ideal time to visit the major tourist places here.
Q: How to plan properly for the Uttarakhand tour?
A: Tourism in Uttarakhand may seem a little confusing at first, but once you do your research, you will realize that the tourist places are mostly near to each other. You can hire local tour operator in Uttarakhand to explore sightseeing more closely.
Q: How to know the methods to seek blessings in the religious shrines in Uttarakhand?
A: Uttarakhand receives religious pilgrims throughout the year, so each of the places have a particular system of management for ease. You can get to know about them from your tour guide. You can also hire pandits in each of the religious places to visit in Uttarakhand.
Q: What kind of weather does Uttarakhand have?
A: Uttarakhand has a temperate climate, with definite seasons of summer and winter. Avoid planning your tour in the winter season, as majority areas here receive snowfall and are intensely cold.
Q: Which is the major airport in Uttarakhand?
A: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun is the major airport in the Garhwal region, while the whole state has five different airports.